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Why Is Morocco Stuck?

When I reflect on the stuckness of Morocco I reflect on two things: the political and economic system, and the mentality of the people. It’s true that there is ongoing development on a material level, development that is visible, particularly in the major cities: new highways, communications infrastructure, commercial and residential buildings, resorts and spas, improved public spaces, a major port in Tangier. However, it must be said that no development takes place in Morocco unless it benefits the political and economic elite and further enhances their position. Their monopoly over the life of the nation is clear, and ultimately it all flows back to “la volonté du roi” who in addition to being the constitutional center of decision making in Morocco, controls massive private interests at all levels of the Moroccan economy, even down to the manufacture of cooking oil or the handing out of taxi medallions (grimas) as a perk of personal privilege. As far as the mentality of the people is concerned, it seems that however much they may complain, most are easily distracted into acts of personal desperation, hedonism, or advantage-seeking within the existing system, rather than engaging in the more difficult task of collective self-criticism and building a better world, which would entail at least the risk of crossing the famous “lignes rouges.” As a result, after venting their frustration for a few minutes they lapse into the default mode of quiet resignation, and the cycle of “fear and ignorance,” as a friend put it, continues undisturbed.

Comments

Comment from samir
Time: July 17, 2009, 16:41

When you have more than half the country classified as illiterates, do not expect the country to go anywhere. yes, new buildings will prop up everywhere, supermarkets…and anything that resembles development will give the impression to anybody that Morocco is moving forward. Dig deep and you will see that people are getting poorer by the day, that the middle-class of the 70s and 80s has almost disappeared and joined the lower class.
Check Youtube for the previous Minister of Interior Driss Basri and see how the number 2 in the country used to talk and behave. Check youtube for how the number 2 of today, Mr Fouad El Bhima talks and that should show you that what really changed is just the names.
No country can develop without its people and the day the Moroccan people know what is happening in their country, the day the country will not remain stuck. For now, the king and his cronies rule and the people simply deserve what they get.

Comment from Islam Abou El Ata
Time: July 19, 2009, 10:10

Descision makers in Morocco at all levels like to promote projects that look and feel good in either of the following ways:
– Things that esthetically look good out there (buildings, highways,..).
– Things that make the king look good on TV (charity, …etc).
– Useless stuff that cost a lot, and allow big margins (city decoration ..).

No one ever wants to do something that shows little reward on the short run, no one wants to spend on quality education for the people, litteracy (quality, not the over-used official thought-control programs of the 80’s and 90’s ..), .. In short, no one wants to save the country (or too few people), and this is why we are stuck down here.

Comment from Mounir
Time: July 21, 2009, 08:39

Tu t’es reconverti en sociologie :)

Comment from Aziz
Time: November 27, 2009, 00:18

The Moroccan citizenry must cease being a silent majority, and make their presence felt. Although this can only follow once widespread literacy is a reality. Also as diaspora Moroccans we must gravitate to organisations that lobby in Morocco, on our behalf, promoting diaspora interests. Makhzen initiatives to link Morocco and its communities abroad must be boycotted and replaced with non-aligned substitutes. Stop propping up the economy with your remittances to, and expenditures in the country. Then Morocco will be put in a position where the states terror cannot compete with the terror of starvation.

Comment from eatbees
Time: November 27, 2009, 08:19

State terror vs. starvation is a grim choice! This is called “heightening the contradictions” and is an old Marxist idea — the people won’t revolt until conditions are bad enough, so those who want change should stop making things better, and do what they can to make things worse. I always felt this was a bit perverse.

I like your idea of the Moroccan diaspora engaging within Morocco — but not through lobby organizations, which will be seen by ordinary Moroccans as a foreign influence, but directly. Moroccans returning to Morocco from abroad should bring not just their cash (as the state wants) but their ideas, their skills, their desire for change, their independence and their critical thinking.

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